2/23/10: NTEU applauds the proposal in the White House fiscal 2011 budget blueprint for a return to parity in pay raises for the government’s civilian workforce and members of the military.
“Parity in pay raises has been an important tenet of federal pay policy for most of the past two decades,” said NTEU National President Colleen Kelley. “The administration earlier said it would return to pay parity after moving away from it for the 2010 raise. I am glad to see its adherence to the commitment.”
As to the blueprint’s proposal for a 1.4 percent pay raise for the civilian workforce and members of the military, the NTEU leader noted it is very low. The figure represents the growth in private sector wages and salaries, as measured by the Employment Cost Index, which is the reference point for the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act (FEPCA).
That bipartisan 1990 law, which became effective in 1994, was designed to close, in stages, the gap between public and private sector pay. It has not, however, been implemented as intended, and the gap, as measured by the Federal Salary Council, now stands at 26 percent in favor of the private sector. President Kelley said continuing progress has to be made in closing that gap if federal agencies are to compete effectively for the quality personnel they need.
“I understand that the president has frozen the pay of political appointees and members of the White House staff,” Kelley said. However, she added that NTEU “will work with our military colleagues and members of Congress in an effort both to ensure parity continues and to explore possibilities of increasing the amount as the White House proposal moves through the legislative process.”
“I believe that all federal employees, whether civilian or military, are deserving of a fair pay raise,” Kelley said, emphasizing that the country clearly is depending on the federal workforce to implement successfully the plans and programs that will reenergize our economy, even as federal employees continue providing day-to-day services to the public.
Meanwhile, on the overall budget, President Kelley expressed concern that the vital rebuilding of the decimated federal workforce not be curtailed. “Federal agencies can best meet their missions in the manner the public expects and needs,” she said, “only with adequate staffing and resources—which they have not had for some time.”
She added: “I am hopeful the administration and Congress will see the wisdom and the positive return on investment for our nation that comes from providing the federal workforce with the tools and resources it needs.”